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Covid’s phishing season is open! Don’t bite

Watch for these signs of a scammer

October 18, 2021 — 

Organizations are seeing a spike in the number of cyber-attacks, and since Covid, there has been a 10% increase in people falling victim to these scams (including here at UM). We block around 30 Million spam and malicious emails each month.  That’s 95% of all messages sent to our university, but many still get through.

Phishing is a way that cybercriminals manipulate people to give up their confidential information (personal details, usernames, passwords, banking information, etc.)  Unfortunately, phishing emails have become hyper-targeted, appearing to come from trusted sources like banks, government agencies or even from within UM, making them difficult to identify.  Below are some tips to consider when opening emails. 

Think before you bite! 

Look for the UM external warning tag. This is the warning at the top of any email that comes from outside of the University of Manitoba.  It is a sure indicator that if the message sounds suspicious, it probably is. 

Also watch for these signs of a scammer:

  • Sender address does not match the sender’s name
  • Grammar, spelling and/or formatting mistakes
  • Strange or incorrect URLs
  • A sense of urgency in the content
  • A request for sensitive information
  • A nondescript or generic email signature
  • An attachment that you did not request

 Can you pass the test?

The IST Security and Compliance Team thanks you for your ongoing attention to our cybersecurity efforts.  To help us all practice spotting these scams, we will be running phishing simulations next week (Oct. 25-29); meaning you may find yourself on the receiving end of a phishing test.  Don’t fall for it!

If you feel you have received a phishing email, please report it to spam [at] umanitoba [dot] ca.

For more information about phishing attacks, visit the Information Security and Compliance web page at

For more tips about online safety visit, “What is online safety?

Remember: Information Security Starts with You!


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